All this week, Swimming Nature is supporting Drowning Prevention Week, the national campaign run by the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), to help spread the importance of teaching children how to stay safe in and around water.
Sadly, drowning is still one of the leading causes of accidental death in children, and an astonishing statistic is that people are more likely to die from drowning than they are from being hit by a car or in a domestic fire. On average 402 people accidentally drowning every year and when a child reaches 15-years-old, statistically the water is more likely to claim their life.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, children have missed out on the vital opportunity to swim, leaving a dramatic gap in school swimming and water safety education.
With summer fast-approaching, everyone keen to get out and enjoy the UK’s water sites following months of restrictions, teaching children how to be safe near water is more important now than ever before.
In support, all this week in our lessons, we will be reminding our young and older swimmers about the Water Safety Code and re-practising key lifesaving skills, including the importance of floating as a survival technique.
The majority of drowning incidents can be prevented, especially with children. No family should ever have to go through the pain of losing a child through drowning. Use this week to make sure everyone is aware of the basic principles of water safety to help keep your families safe this summer.
At open water
- Check water sites for hazards, check the safest places to swim and always read the signs. Take time to check the depth and water flow of open water sites.
- Swim with any children in your care – it’s more fun and you can keep them close and safe
- On beaches, check when the tide will be high and low, and make sure that you won’t be cut off from the beach exit by the rising tide. Also, learn to identify dangerous rip-currents.
- Inflatable dinghies or lilos are a well-known hazard – each year there are drownings as people on inflatables are blown out to sea. Do not use them in open water.
- Do not swim near to or dive from rocks, piers, breakwater or coral.
- Swim parallel to the beach and close to the shore.
- Empty paddling pools as soon as they have been used. Always turn paddling pools upside down once empty.
- Always supervise your children around water, including bath time (never leave children unattended).
- Always use gates, fences and locks to prevent children from gaining access to pools of water.
- Securely cover all water storage tanks and drains.
For further water safety advice, please visit https://www.rlss.org.uk/Pages/Category/water-safety-information